Codariocalyx gyroides (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Codariocalyx gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) Hassk.

Protologue: Flora 25, Beibl. 2: 49 (1842), pro parte.
Family: Leguminosae
Chromosome number: 2n= 20, 22


Hedysarum gyroides Roxb. ex Link (1822), Desmodium gyroides (Roxb. ex Link) DC. (1825), D. papuanum C.T. White (1922).

Vernacular names

  • Codarrio (En)
  • Indonesia: sanagori, kadatuwa (Sundanese), julukan (Javanese)
  • Cambodia: kâm'phé:m
  • Thailand: thua desmodium.

Origin and geographic distribution

Codarrio is native to the area extending from Nepal and India through southern China and Indo-China and throughout Malesia. It has been introduced on an experimental basis into many countries.


Codarrio is of increasing interest as forage and at the same time is used as green manure and as a shade tree in coffee and cocoa plantations.


Preliminary information indicates that leaves and young edible stems of codarrio may have a slightly lower N but similar P concentration than similar regrowth from leucaena ( Leucaena leucocephala (Lamk) de Wit) cut at the same height and frequency. Lower digestibility has been reported but this may possibly reflect the presence of tannins. If so, the reported values may not be a true indication of the nutritional quality of codarrio to ruminants. In feeding experiments with rats, codarrio gave the same weight gains as equivalent diets with lucerne and there was no evidence of anti-nutritional substances.


An erect, usually multi-branched, shrub 1-3 m tall with sparsely to densely pubescent stems; older stems can exceed 4 cm diameter. Leaf 1-3-foliolate, petiole 1-3 cm long; leaflets 1 or 3, elliptical to obovate, 2-8 cm × 1-5 cm, obtuse to emarginate at the apex, rounded to cordate at the base, densely adpressed pubescent, sometimes glabrescent above, usually silvery white beneath; lateral leaflets usually smaller than terminal leaflet. Flower about 1 cm long, usually with 2 together in dense terminal and axillary inflorescences 5-15 cm long; corolla initially pinkish turning blue to mauve; pedicel ca. 1 cm long. Fruit 2.5-5 cm × 4-6 mm, densely yellowish hairy, with 5-13 segment-like parts but not splitting into articles, the whole fruit opening along the lower margin. Seed about 2.5 mm × 4 mm × 1.5 mm.

Away from the equator codarrio flowers in the latter part of the wet season and early dry season. Late-flowering introductions set very little seed in the subtropics. In Indonesia, codarrio flowers in April. Individual plants survive for 2-4 years. Codarrio nodulates with native cowpea rhizobia.

C. gyroides is closely related to C. motorius (Houtt.) Ohashi, which occurs largely in the same area (not in Papua New Guinea).


Codarrio occurs up to an altitude of 1900 m (e.g. in Papua New Guinea). It grows well on sites with a shallow water table and poor drainage, and is not drought-resistant. It is tolerant of acid and infertile soils with much available Al. It can survive burning when growing in Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel grasslands in Indonesia.


In Indonesia, it is planted at spacings of 0.5 m × 1.0 m. Growth may be slow for the first 2 months, but is possibly faster than leucaena. It usually flowers within 12 months. In Indonesia codarrio is cut and fed to animals, but plants do not survive low and frequent cutting. A cutting height of 0.5-1.5 m and cutting frequency of 6-10 weeks is provisionally suggested. Bushes can develop 50 or more basal branches.

Codarrio can be grazed, but in Australia more damage to plants was observed than to grazed leucaena. Reports from Belize and Australia suggest that poor persistence of codarrio may be caused in part by damage from insect larva burrowing in stems, fungal diseases and root-knot nematodes, the latter found particularly on sandy, well-drained soils. Where plants are allowed to seed, recruitment of new plants may be able to compensate for death of older plants.

Genetic resources and breeding

Collections are held by CIAT (Colombia) and ATFGRC (CSIRO, Australia). Preliminary assessment of lines collected in Sumatra in 1986 is being carried out at CIAT.


Codarrio is showing promise as a forage plant, particularly on poorly drained and low fertility sites. In Indonesia further "on-farm" testing is in progress. Although it may not be persistent in the long term, it could be planted out with slower growing but longer-lived shrub species which may yield less forage initially.


  • Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, 1989. Annual report, CIAT Tropical Pastures Program. Cali, Colombia. pp. 2-9, 2-13.
  • Jones, R.M., 1984. Yield and persistence of the shrub legumes Codariocalyx gyroides and Leucaena leucocephala in south-eastern Queensland. CSIRO, Australia, Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures, Technical Memorandum No 38. 9 pp.
  • Lazier, J.R., 1981. Effect of cutting height and frequency on dry matter production of Codariocalyx gyroides (syn. Desmodium gyroides) in Belize, Central America. Tropical Grasslands 15: 10-16.
  • National Academy of Sciences, 1979. Tropical legumes: resources for the future. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, United States. pp. 128-129.
  • Ohashi, H., 1973. The Asiatic species of Desmodium and its allied genera (Leguminosae). Ginkgoana 1: 43-46.
  • Skerman, P.J., Cameron, D.G. & Riveros, F., 1988. Tropical forage legumes. FAO, Rome. pp. 555-556.


R. Soedomo